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Showing posts from April, 2009

Lesson Plans On The Net

How many times has a teacher helped us get through a tough time? I'll bet that creating those lesson plans is not a simple task. I think we'll dedicate this article to helping all the teachers out there. The following sites offer lesson plans and tons of other teacher-related resources:

The New York Times Learning NetworkCreated for students and teachers in grades 3 through 12, The Learning Network is a free news service that provides news summaries, quizzes, and even daily lesson plans.

Click this link to visit the NYT Learning Network: http://www.nytimes.com/learning.

AskEric/EDUREFMore than 2000 unique lesson plans which have been written and submitted to AskERIC (now called the Educator's Reference Desk) by teachers. If you have a great lesson plan you would like to share with educators all over the world, send it in. A wonderful online resource since 1992.

Click this link to AskEric/EDUREF: http://www.eduref.org. TeachNetTeachnet offers lesson plans, teaching to…

The Association of International Glaucoma Societies

If you visit The Association of International Glaucoma Societies website at http://www.globalaigs.org you are immediately treated to a highly produced musical number entitled Glaucoma Hymn. Here are the lyrics:

"Glaucoma, Glaucoma, Glaucoma
Constricting vision slowly
Halted by progress of science
Vision of a world united
Beyond all science knowing."
Soprano Melanie Greve delivers a near operatic rendition of the above. The Lyrics and Composition were created by Erik Greve, the arrangement done by Tom Löwenthal. You can download an MP3 of the song as well. The purpose of The Association of International Glaucoma Societies is:

To further develop an effective world-wide organisation to realise common goals and improve standards for glaucoma management and research;

To facilitate and co-ordinate communication and collaboration between Glaucoma Societies, Glaucoma Industries, Glaucoma Foundations and Glaucoma Patient Societies and other organisations in the field;

To maintain and …

Free OCR Software for Digital Cameras and Smartphones

Before you make the mistake of spending a lot of money on OCR software, you should try TopOCR! This software package is designed to be simple and user-friendly for use with your digital camera or smartphone. Now, wherever you go, you can quickly and easily acquire documents from business cards, newspapers, books and magazines, all without having to carry around a bulky notebook computer and scanner. TopOCR's Advanced Features include: Incredible OCR accuracy, upto 99.8% with a 3 MP camera
No page limits, and no extra downloads or components needed
Handles images with mixed text and graphics (Manual or Auto Zoning)
Tolerates skew and uneven lighting
Multiple text output formats, including searchable PDF and HTML
Able to read 11 different languages
Powerful, easy to use Image Processing with Image Dewarping
Supports Smartphones
Includes built-in, full featured Text and Image WYSIWYG Editors
Post-processing spell checker for all 11 languages
Built-in Text-To-Speech software. How about OCR t…

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Dog Owners

by Eric Letendre Here are the seven habits all good dog owners have in common. Follow these steps, provided by the Best Pet Bud blog and you’ll be a highly effective dog owner. Training All great dog owners spend some time training their dogs. Training is the best way to communicate with your dog. Your dog has no idea that they are not supposed to pull on leash, to not jump on guests, or to come back when you call them.
Exercise Our dogs spend a lot of time waiting around for us. We go off to work, we’re busy, we have appointments to keep, and our dogs are just hanging out waiting for us to do something with them. Dogs are extremely social and want to interact with us. Every dog needs two forms of exercise - mental and physical.
Good food Not all dog foods are created equal. Feeding your dog a good diet is very important. Look at some of the labels on dog food cans. Some of them are loaded with chemicals, dyes, sugar and low grade products.
Leadership Dogs are social pack animals. The…

Clicker Train Your Dog with Susquehanna Service Dogs

Clicker training is a great way to communicate with your dog and provide positive reinforcement for desired behaviors. It can be fun for both you and your dog! In clicker training, you use a clicker to mark a behavior your dog has performed, giving him a treat after each click. The click tells the dog that he has done what you wanted him to do. The concept of using a clicker is similar to that of a camera - each click captures a moment of a behavior. To be successful at clicker training, you must train yourself, as well as your dog. To help you learn how to use clicker training to communicate with your dog and receive the behaviors you want, Susquehanna Service Dogs has a blog with a series of posts sharing some of the basics of clicker training. Susquehanna Service Dogs breeds, trains and provides service dogs to children and adults with disabilities to assist them to become more independent. They specially train each dog to meet the unique needs of the individual.

Click this link…

Website and Blog for Returning Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched its “Returning Veterans” Website to welcome home Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts with a social, Veteran-centric Website focusing on their needs and questions. The Website will feature videos, Veteran stories, and a blog where Veterans are encouraged to post feedback.  The site also will restructure the traditional index-of-benefits format found on other VA pages into question-based, categorized, and easily navigated links by topic. This will allow Veterans to find benefits of interest easily and discover related benefits as they explore.

Click this link to visit http://www.oefoif.va.gov.

Word PlayHouse Kit

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Word PlayHouse provides students with visual impairments the opportunity to participate in classroom activities that focus on phonics, spelling, and phonemic awareness. Use Word PlayHouse to teach beginning phonics and reading skills including letter recognition, braille code recognition, decoding, vocabulary, and spelling skills.
Kit Includes:436 letter tiles in large print with a braille overlay and hook/loop material backing. The tiles include vowels, consonants, blends, diagraphs, word endings, and word families. Tiles containing contracted and uncontracted braille are included for some blends and word families to better meet the needs of all students.
A bi-fold felt work board provides a working space for the student. One side can be used for working storage of letters that will be introduced during the lesson. The other side can be used as a working space for manipulating letters and building words, word families, and new spelling and vocabulary words.
A storage binder, with five…

Turbo Phonics Kit

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Turbo Phonics is a computer-based, phonemic awareness and phonics program for young students who are preparing to develop reading skills. This program has been specially designed for students who have low vision, but students with typical vision may successfully use the program. Exciting racecar sounds, racing graphics, and student-friendly interface make Turbo Phonics loads of fun when learning to read.Student performance is tracked in a self-contained database that the teacher may access at any time. The program identifies skills in which the student may need further practice.This program provides students with simple, high contrast graphics, audio reinforcement, and excitement throughout the interactive program. Students will love Turbo Phonics! Join Elaine Kitchel's 'Guided Tour' at: www.aph.org/webcastIncludes:CD-ROM with Turbo Phonics programTeacher's Guidebooks in enhanced print and brailleOne Student Activity Book (this is consumable, additional activity books …

Transparent CCTV Rulers

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These see-through vinyl rulers make it easier to measure items magnified by a CCTV (closed-circuit television). They measure 7" x 1 1/8" are marked with one of six different increments: English 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", and 1"; and metric 1 mm and 1 cm. Rulers are screen printed with black ink on high-contrast transparent vinyl.Includes: Set of six transparent rulers (clear or yellow, depending on which kit you order): 1 each, English: 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", and 1"1 each, Metric: 1 mm and 1 cmVinyl zipper pouch, made of non-glare, heavy-gauge vinyl featuring a zip-lock closure, 5-hole punched to fit standard 2- and 3-ring binders, measures 7 1/2" x 10 5/8"Print and braille instructions Yellow (set of six):
Catalog Number: 1-03008-00

Clear (set of six):
Catalog Number: 1-03009-00
Transparent CCTV Rulers from APH.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0…

PATTER: Preschool Attainment Through Typical Everyday Routines

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This curriculum and assessment tool from APH is designed to facilitate skill development by children who are visually impaired in the areas that preschoolers are expected to master through involvement in typical household routines. PATTER is appropriate for use with children with varying degrees of visual impairment, as well as those with additional impairments.Based on simple task analysis, PATTER breaks down an everyday activity into its component parts and allows for measurement of a child's level of participation during each step. Continuous teaching and assessing through the use of PATTER will help preschoolers:Learn basic positional, quantitative, and temporal conceptsLearn the foundation for complex play skillsLearn meaningful languageParticipate meaningfully with their familiesBecome "doers" who don't develop learned helplessness Large Print Guidebook with CD and DVD:
Catalog Number: 8-76001-00

Braille Guidebook with CD and DVD:
Catalog Number: 6-76001-00
Cl…

Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's and 123's

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Learning by coloring is fun!Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC'sLots of Dots: Learning My ABC's is an exciting raised-line coloring book designed for future large print and braille readers. It facilitates braille character recognition through repetitive activities designed for young children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. Each letter of the alphabet has two pages:

the first page features a jumbo braille cell, with six raised-line open circles. The upper and lower case letters are shown with their braille equivalents, along with a reduced-size cell showing which dots need to be filled in to complete the letter.
The second page shows the letter and a tactile graphic depiction of an easy-to-find object that begins with that letter. The object is depicted in a tactile graphic format, allowing the student to color it in. Attached to the inside front cover is a plastic stencil of the jumbo cell. This can be folded over the blank pages, allowing the student to practice t…

Work-Play Trays from APH

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Durable trays hold objects which might roll out of reach. Trays provide enclosed work space for sorting, matching, classifying, counting. Two sizes and colors:Large Work-Play Tray (21 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches)Black:
Catalog Number: 1-03761-00

Yellow:
Catalog Number: 1-03740-00

Small Work-Play Tray (17 x 11 3/4 inches)Black:
Catalog Number: 1-03751-00

Yellow:
Catalog Number: 1-03660-00 These products requires special handling. Please call APH customer service at 1-800-223-1839.Divide the work area into two, three, four, or five parts. Note: Dividers are not available for the large tray.

Catalog Number: 1-03770-00
Click this link to purchase Dividers for Small Work-Play Tray (4-pack)The Jumbo Work/Play Tray is designed to provide learners who have visual impairments and significant challenges with a tool in which they can play, explore, and learn independently. The large size tray (24" x 24") allows ample space for active learning and prevents toys from rolling out of reach.Can be u…

VIPS Video Library

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The VIPS Video Library from Visually Impaired Preschool Services is a series of essential videos for parents of young children who are visually impaired. The VIPS Video Library offers practical and proven techniques that foster the development of children who are visually impaired or blind. Geared to parents and educators, these videos offer critical insights and strategies to help a child achieve independence.Seeing Things in a New Way: What Happens When You Have a Blind Baby: Catalog Number 1-30024-DVDLearning About the World: Concept Development: Catalog Number 1-30025-DVDBecoming a "Can-Do" Kid: Self-Help Skills: Catalog Number 1-30026-DVDMaking Friends: Social Skills and Play: Catalog Number 1-30027-DVDGoing Places: Orientation and Mobility: Catalog Number 1-30028-DVDThrough Their Eyes: An Introduction to Low Vision: Catalog Number 1-30029-DVDMoving Through the World: Gross Motor Skills and Play: Catalog Number 1-30030-DVDHands-On Experience: Tactual Learning and Skills…

Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment Kit FVLMA

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This assessment tool is useful for practitioners to gather, store, track, and analyze information regarding students' functional vision and appropriate learning media.The Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment, written by Rebecca Burnett, Ed.D., and LaRhea Sanford, Ed.D., has been revised and made an APH product. FVLMA fills the need for a user-friendly instrument that provides a framework for systematic and thorough assessment of a student's visual functioning, and the student's needs for adapted educational media. Although not a standardized test, FVLMA has been peer-reviewed by experts in the field of vision and field tested by teachers and students. It was found useful in discovering, recording, and analyzing the needs and progress of students.FVLMA Includes:Practitioner's GuidebookCD-ROM containing HTML and .brf filesAn expanded core curriculum yearly screening formProtocols: Learning media assessmentFunctional vision and learning media interviews and ob…

Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See

APH offers a braille edition of the acclaimed book Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See. This is the inspirational story of Mike May, who was blinded in a childhood accident, but never hesitated to try anything he wanted to experience: driving a motorcycle, hiking alone in the woods, downhill skiing. Later, May decided to have a new stem-cell and cornea transplant procedure that partially restored his vision. Join May on his remarkable journey as he adjusts to his medical miracle, lives with disappointments as well as joys, and engages life with exuberance.

Catalog Number: A-B0606-00
Click this link to purchase Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping H…

Consumable Number Lines

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APH's Consumable Number Lines are great for reinforcing beginning number concepts such as counting, sequencing, number recognition, number relationships, addition, and subtraction. Use the blank number lines to provide a concrete representation when introducing fractions, decimals, or negative numbers.Consumable Number Lines, Large Print:10 blank number lines with numbers 0-1010 blank number lines with 11 points10 blank number lines with numbers 0-2010 blank number lines with 21 points in 2 colorsConsumable Number Lines, Braille/Tactile:5 raised-line tactile number lines with numbers 0-105 raised-line tactile number lines with numbers 0-205 blank raised-line tactile number lines with 11 points10 braille embossed number lines with numbers 0-1010 blank braille embossed number lines with 11 points5 braille embossed number lines with numbers 0-20 Large Print:
Catalog Number: 1-03012-00

Braille/Tactile:
Catalog Number: 1-03013-00
Click this link to purchase APH's Consumable Number…

Braille Contraction Recognition Kit

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New Name, New Components, New Configuration, Same Objective: APH's previous BCR kit (Braille Code Recognition) has changed to Braille Contraction Recognition kit!New BCR Components:Teacher's Manual explains the program, provides suggestions for its use, and suggests additional practice material and helpful hintsPretesting and Posttesting Components provide a formal measurement toolNew Configuration:Teacher/Student Kit contains one teacher's manual in either large print or braille and one Student Kit in brailleStudent Kit contains same materials as in the kit above, but without the teacher's manualSame Objective:Increase braille reading accuracyIncrease braille reading rate Teacher's Kit, Print:
Catalog Number: 1-03251-00

Teacher's Kit, Braille:
Catalog Number: 1-03252-00

Student's Kit, Braille:
Catalog Number: 1-03253-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Contraction Recognition Kit.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue

Technical, Scientific and Mathematical Tables in Braille

Braille copies of more than 400 standard technical, scientific and mathematical tables found primarily in high school and college textbooks are available for purchase from the Braille Technical Tables Bank of the National Braille Association. The collection includes standard tables found in mathematics, computer science, statistics, chemistry, physics, finance, and other subjects.
A great idea for transcribers is to insert these tables into their textbook transcriptions and avoid brailling the standard tables.
Free catalogs are available from NBA. Some of their titles include:
Periodic table of the elements
Mileage chart in kilometers
Powers, roots, and reciprocals table
Dietary allowances
Trigonometric functions, natural and logarithmic table
A brief table of integrals Normal curve, areas and ordinates
Reference tables for general chemistry
Table of metric units of measurement
Table of English units of measurement
Factorials tables
Normal curve, areas and ordinates table
Regres…

Virtual Vision Glasses

Do you have enough vision to watch television? Are you uncomfortable sitting so close to the TV in order to see the screen? Do you get in the way of other family members who are also trying to watch the latest movie with you? If you answered yes to these questions, the Rimax Virtual Vision Glasses may be a solution for you. The Virtual Vision 3.0 glasses strap to your head and deliver the equivalent view of a 36-inch TV direct to your eyes. The glasses have an internal LCD screen, so not only do you get your very own personal cinema, you also get great picture quality. The glasses also feature a set of stereo earphones that sit snugly in your ears while you're wearing them.

Main Features:

Mini LCD display
Unique optical system is adapted to replicate a 36-inch screen 2 meters away
Broad adaptability; can be connected to DVD players, Game Consoles or other standard AV products
Supports PAL and NTSC video signals
External battery for complete freedom - up to 8 hours maximum per ch…

Signature Guide For Signing Checks

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Knowing where to put one's signature on a check is an ongoing problem--and it is one which can be inconvenient and time-consuming to solve if you have to teach a new person each time to show you where to sign. Here are three methods that might prove useful: Slip a check into a braille slate with its bottom aligned, or even, with that of the slate. Find the location of a line that can serve as a guide for placing your signature in the right place, then braille a line of dots across the check from the starting point of the signature line to the check's edge. Next put an "up-and-down line" from the signature line to the bottom of the check. Doing this creates a guide to mark the spot where your signature should start. Remember where these two lines meet on the series of checks that comprise this particular book of checks, so you will be able to mark each check appropriately until you finish the book. Then, when you start a new book of checks, remember the printing may b…

All Children Have Different Eyes: Learn to Play and Make Friends

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This is a beautifully illustrated hardbound storybook about two children with low vision, written for elementary age students.All Children Have Different Eyes serves as a model for children with visual impairment on how to confidently play and make friends while facing difficult social challenges, such as answering questions about their condition, entering play groups, or handling limitations responsibly. Classmates will learn to become better friends and playmates when they discover why a classmate with a visual impairment sees and plays differently. Parents and teachers will learn how visual impairment affects social interactions.Over 40 examples and activities transform the engaging stories into an interactive workbook for parents and teachers. A glossary for kids and resources for adults complete this valuable resource.Learn About:Making and keeping friendsCoping with bullies and other mean peopleCoping with others lack of knowledgeCoping with mistakes and limitations because of l…

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

Beginning Thursday, April 30, 2009. NLS has hosted a pilot site for the downloading of books for the blind and visually impaired. NLS appreciates all who have participated in the pilot test. Your feedback has allowed them to continuously improve the original site and to look into many expansions, such as the inclusion of braille books. The pilot phase has ended, and a new site has been launched. Users who know their passwords to the original pilot site will be able to log on to the new site; users who rely on their browsers to remember their passwords will need new ones (follow instructions in Section II). All user accounts have been migrated to the new system, so you do not need to reapply. All materials previously downloaded will remain usable, so you will not need to redownload your reading material. This message from NLS describes what’s new about BARD and explains what steps must be taken to access the site. Please read the entire message carefully. Section I. What’s dif…

Find Podcasts On The Web with CastRoller

CastRoller is an online podcast subscription tool. Users can add their favorite podcasts and will receive personalized recommendations for podcasts they might enjoy. They can add their friends and see the podcasts that their friends are listening to and share episodes with them. With CastRoller, you can manage your podcast subscriptions in one place and use the RSS feeds to have the episodes delivered to all of your devices automatically. Social features like the creation of channels that revolve around a certain topic or event are also accounted for, effectively letting you categorize the podcasts you like best and group them together for viewing convenience. A service like this makes it possible for anybody to have personalized entertainment delivered straight to their players, as well as sharing interesting content with others.

Click this link to find podcasts with http://www.castroller.com.

QuickLook Basic Portable Video Magnifier

You'll love our latest low vision aid discovery. To help you read fine print on medicine labels, food packages, contracts or even read what you are writing, the QuickLook Basic Portable Video Magnifier is the perfect solution. This handy gadget enables you to magnify anything you are trying to read! QuickLook Basic is a lightweight, full color, electronic print magnifier with an integrated LCD flat screen display. View photos magnified, enlarge the print on a prescription bottle, or read anything anywhere anytime with QuickLook. It's small enough to fit in the inside pocket of a jacket or a ladies' purse, but big enough to make a difference. QuickLook Basic turns ON easily. Simply tilt the camera angle to the Reading" position, then the display will appear instantly. Writing is easy, too. Simply tilt the camera to the preset "Writing" position, then begin writing. Grip and hold QuickLook Basic in the most comfortable handheld position. QuickLook's …

Using eggs and an egg carton to teach braille and Other Skills

Sometimes teaching the concept of the Braille layout to a group of students can be a challenge. But a half-dozen eggs and a six-egg carton can make the teaching process much easier. I bet I have you wondering how! The six-egg carton can be used as a braille cell and the six eggs can be used as the braille dots. The letter A is formed by putting one egg on the top left corner. The letter B is formed by putting an egg on the top left corner and a second egg right underneath, and so forth. Once the students learn the alphabet, you can also show them how letters are formed when writing on a slate. Letter A is written by putting one egg in the top right corner. Letter B is written by putting an egg in the top right corner and another egg right underneath. Using these materials will allow you to easily take a look at the combination of dots every student is forming. By using these over-sized materials, you can easily check each student's progress. And if the thought of raw eggs a…

Exploring the World of Bar Codes with Window Eyes and BCScan

With the release of Window-Eyes 7.0, you can make your life a bit easier by using bar codes to identify grocery packages, your favorite CDs etc. In this short demonstration, listen as J.J. Meddaugh uses a bar code scanner and a Window-eyes script to identify packages and read product directions from the BCScan website. BCScan is a free service that allows you to organize, catalog, learn about, and manage your groceries, CDs, movies, household products, medications, or just about anything else. It works using a bar code scanner and a database of roughly a million products. When a bar code on an item is scanned, BCScan will check a database for the product and tell you what it is. You can add products to your personal inventory, add notes, or contribute additional information. It's great for the visually impaired person who needs to identify a canned good or for anyone who wants to better organize their life. Things you could do with BCScan: Inventory your groceries, CDs, movies…

The Life and Times of a Disabled Job Seeker

By Donna J. JodhanAt the best of times, job seeking can be one of the most tedious, frustrating, and nerve racking processes but for a disabled person it can be doubly difficult. It does not matter whether the economy is good or bad, the trials and difficulties for a disabled job seeker remain the same. The excuses are the same, the reasons for rejection of disabled applicants continue to be the same, and the unemployment statistics continue to hover over the 80%mark. At least,
that is the statistic that we hear when it comes to North America but for the rest of the world it is probably the same and in the developing world it is even greater.Shocker or shaker! Neither! Just very sad!I myself was a job seeker with a disability at one time and I can tell you that based on my experience and those of many others, it is a very rugged and scary road for any job seeker with a disability. Even when the economy is good, things are the same and now that we are in difficult times, the road …

Marking Answers In a Braille Answer Sheet

Your questions and suggestions help us update and build the content of Fred's Head. The following is one of the many questions we have received in our electronic mailbox:Question: How do you have a blind student mark his/her answers on a braille answer sheet? I have had a 6th grade student place a sheet of coarse sandpaper under the page, and mark a line next to the choice with a pencil. In doing this, the teacher can see the selection, and the blind student can feel the choice selected. This is helpful if the class is going over their work together. It has worked well this year, but I have wondered if there are "real" techniques for marking answers, other than using a separate answer sheet in which the student brailles the letter of choice. The Fred's Head Team forwarded the question to Eleanor Pestor, Research Scientist of the American Printing House for the Blind. Eleanor had tested the process of marking answers with different materials, and was …

The View from Under the Pew

The View from Under the Pew by Diane Winters Johnson tells the story of Walter, a dog guide who assists Pastor Diane in her daily life at home, and at the church where she works. Walter helps Pastor Diane get to the church, to the hospital where she visits the sick, and to his favorite weekly event -- the potluck supper. Walter loves his view from under the pew, where he can listen to the choir sing and see the faces of the families who have come to church. For ages 6-10, the book is available in print or braille for $14 from National Braille Press. To order or read more about this book, visit http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC0608-VIEW.html, or call the National Braille Press at 888-965- 8965.